Defending his government’s demonetisation order, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Monday that the poor in the country were supporting his move against corruption, black money and fake currency. Admitting that it was a “little harsh” and that people were facing inconvenience, Mr Modi attacked the Opposition, mainly the Congress, for misleading the people and asked if corruption and dishonesty should be allowed in the country.
Scoffing at the Opposition for blaming him for the problems faced by the poor, Mr Modi said he was better aware of hardships faced by ordinary people. The PM said he knew he was up against the powerful, but vowed to continue his “fight for the poor, farmers and villagers”, as the Opposition parties joined forces to corner the government on the issue in the Winter Session of Parliament starting Wednesday.
Addressing the BJP’s “Parivartan Yatra” rally in Gazipur in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Mr Modi said while the poor were enjoying sound sleep after the decision, the rich were “running from pillar to post to buy sleeping pills”. In a dig at the Congress, the PM recalled that Congress governments had imposed the Emergency, stifling the rights of the people and the media, and banned chavanni (25 paise coins).
“Under which law did they ban chavanni? ... It’s another thing that they couldn’t move beyond chavanni ... You took the step as per your stature, we did what matched ours,” Mr Modi said. Invoking the name of India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on his 127th birth anniversary, the PM said he had purposely chosen this date for his visit to UP to launch projects. “You (Nehru) are no more, the leaders from your party and your family are levelling false allegations... still, on your birthday, I am starting work to complete your unfulfilled desire for the development of India,” Mr Modi said.
He said at the rally: “My decision is a little harsh. When I was young, poor people used to ask for kadak (strong) tea, but it spoils the mood of the rich.” The PM said while there was no dearth of money for development, the fact was that money was stashed away somewhere else and not where it should be.